A popular area restaurant chain is ready to make its mark on Leesburg.
The Mojo Grill, which has two locations in Ocala and another in Belleview, is scheduled to open March 25 in the old Chili’s Grill & Bar location at 9925 U.S. Hwy. 441, near the Lake Square Mall.
The success of those other eateries clearly led owner Rondo Fernandez to open his fourth restaurant in Leesburg. Like his other locations, it features plenty of bright colors, wacky artwork and blues-music-inspired memorabilia. And it even boasts a large Elvis Presley statue – complete with an array of musical instruments – on an upside-down stage hanging right above the front entrance.
Memorabilia and other interesting items also can be found throughout Fernandez’s newest restaurant, which is painted bright blue and would be very hard to miss while traveling down U.S. Hwy. 441.
A painting behind the bar boasts “Love Is Our Religion” and the ceiling area there is covered in hubcaps. There’s a mural of a huge guitar with flames shooting up behind it, a Gibson Les Paul guitar painting on a table and a huge “Elvis Presley Live” sign, also on a dining table. And above an outside seating area, a Day of the Dead-themed sign that looks like it belongs at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, sporting a sad-looking hobo skeleton carrying a guitar, reads: “Who’s Gonna Be Your Sweet Lovin Man When I’m Gone?”
The Mojo Grill & Catering Co. was founded in 2009 by Fernandez and his wife, Toby. The eatery’s name was inspired by Fernandez’s love for blues music. And the restaurant chain prides itself on providing a “one-of-a-kind dining experience delighting your mind with blues music, feeding your body with soul food, and treating your soul to a great time amongst family and friends,” according to its website.
Fernandez’s first Mojo Grill opened in July 2009 as a small, 12-table restaurant in downtown Ocala. It quickly became popular, leading Fernandez down the path to expansion. Today, his three Marion County restaurants are located at 2015 SW 17th Street in Ocala, 4620 E Silver Springs Blvd. in Ocala and 4496 SE 100th Place in Belleview.
Fernandez, who was born in Atlanta and raised in Miami, moved with his family in 1990 to the Big Scrub area in the Ocala National Forest. He attended Lake Weir High School. And he completed a culinary school at Lake County Vo-Tech while working full-time as a server.
Fernandez, a proud father of four children, found his passion for the restaurant business as a child when he would accompany his mother to work in her establishments. And he developed a deep love of Cuban cuisine from his father, a Cuban immigrant.
Fernandez and his Mojo Grill staff members also are big believers in giving back to the communities they serve. A well-known philanthropist, Fernandez has hosted many community and charity events at his Marion County restaurants and provided financial support in many different ways.
Customers dining at the new Leesburg restaurant will find a packed menu offering a variety of different items to choose from. There’s a wide assortment of appetizers, burgers and hot dogs, sandwiches and wraps, and soups and salads.
Guests also will be able to enjoy everything from quesadillas to tacos to fajitas and lettuce wraps. There’s some Cajun-inspired dishes, like the Jammin’ Jambalaya, Bourbon Street Bowl, Rajun Cajun Chicken Pasta and Southern Style Shrimp and Grits. And, of course, Mojo’s Cuban pulled pork and signature chicken wings will be staples in the new establishment – just like they are in the other three locations.
You can see the complete Mojo Grill menu by clicking HERE.